In my time as a GAMSAT tutor I have corrected hundreds of essays by prospective medical students. The following are three of my favourites that were sent to me last year. Each shows a different style and each is great in its own way, but they also have a couple of key things in common. See if you can figure out what they are!
“The fate of a child is in the hands of his parents”
I interpret the above quote to mean that parents play an important role in a child’s development.
Child development and resulting behavioural traits have been shown to be affected by a complex interaction of numerous factors like heredity, parents, peers and environment to create the fate of the child. Other factors include health and education of parents, family finances, birth order, friends, outcome of child’s attempts at self-actualization, neighbours as well as extended family. Continue reading
The following is an excellent Task B GAMSAT essay sent in by a student preparing to sit the test next month.
The student directly responds to the given quote; clearly and concisely demonstrating a perspective by which it might be understood to be true. As you can see the argument is simple and the sentences are brief. The overall effect is an essay that is easy to read and easy to understand. Exactly what an examiner wants to see!
“The Internet is so big, so powerful and pointless that for some people it is a complete substitute for life.” – Andrew Brown.
This quote summarises the opposing qualities of the Internet. The Internet is vast, and in this day and age it allows you to do practically anything that you can do in real life. It is so powerful that it can connect people on opposite poles. However, what is its purpose if all of these activities can be undertaken in real life?
The Internet has grown enormously in the last decade. More websites appear everyday. The list of activities that one can partake in is endless. A couple of the major sectors are entertainment and socialisation. In the real world, one can read a newspaper in order to enhance their knowledge of what is going on around them. Nowadays, this can be done on the Internet. In the real world people play games with their friends, but now this too can be done online. Some people like to go into betting shops and place bets on sporting events, the Internet now allows people to do this from their own home. Socialisation is something all humans crave. One used to have to venture outside their house to socialise, but now the internet has made it possible to socialise without leaving one’s home.
Sentence: The big hat was put on the cat.
There are two meanings here:
- 1) The meaning intended by the writer
- 2) The meaning understood by the reader
And two acknowledgements:
- The meaning intended by the writer cannot be known with absolute certainty.
- The meaning understood by the reader is subjective.
Subjectivity: Depending on who the reader is, the meaning they take from the sentence may differ. People, children, space aliens – each will have a different interpretation of the word ‘big’. Also the standard size of a cat is likely to differ by geographical location. If you live in a jungle in India for example a bengali tiger may represent your standard ‘cat’. How large will the hat therefore need to be to qualify as big by comparison to this mighty cat? Is it on his head, or like, on his body? There are so many questions…
With that in mind, have a read of this Task B essay and the comments which follow. This should help demonstrate why meaning theory is important on the GAMSAT. Continue reading
The following essay was sent in by a prospective GAMSAT student. Although it is easy to read and understand, it lacks one key element which prevents it from being a perfect GAMSAT essay. See if you can figure out what that is.
“Man accidentally kills himself posing with a gun for a Facebook selfie.”
– USA newspaper, 2014
“Firearms are lethal weapons and their use and distribution needs to be strictly regulated in all countries.”
The use of firearms and their accessibility to the general public is a controversial issue. The recent news of a man who accidentally shot himself with a gun while posing for a ‘selfie’, highlights the need for strict regulation of these lethal weapons. While pro-gun activists argue that individuals have the right to own guns to protect themselves and their families, the fact remains that guns are lethal weapons which should only be available to trained military personnel in combat.
The recent news of a man’s accidental death while posing for a photograph with a gun emphasises the importance of the gun control issue. Information regarding the man’s training or licensing to own and use a firearm is unclear, however, this does not change the fact that he died because of the gun. This tragic incident highlights just how dangerous guns are, and supports the notion that firearms should only be used in military combat, not in the hands of civilians. Continue reading
The following essay was sent in by a student. Below the essay are my comments and suggestions on how it might be improved.
“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”
Plato’s Word of Political Participation Needs More Consideration in Recent Society
Politics is inserted into the general public and interacts with citizens in many ways. For instance, in an economic basis, we pay taxes to the government occasionally; in a social context, we are guided by the law for justices of what we have done; every election period, we vote and select our governors and legislators. Plato has suggested in his words the importance of participating in politics. He encourages citizens fighting for their rights and shouting out their own voices, or they might lose their chance of getting what they desire for, or at worst case, result in penalties of being ruled by inferiors, of whom should not have been the elected one, but because the majority did not vote, they are elected by the “non-silent” voters.